March 5, 2008 Installation of microturbines has been completed in New York with the aim of providing clean energy and reducing the City’s residential and commercial carbon emissions. MicroTurbine systems, developed by Capstone, have been installed in four locations around the City and are fueled by clean burning natural gas, and emit very low emissions.
The Capstone 60 MicroTurbine is a compact turbine generator that delivers electricity onsite, or close to the point where it is needed and are designed to operate on a variety of gaseous and liquid fuels. The systems are used as onsite generators to provide clean energy to buildings, both residential and commercial. The systems operate in conjunction with the utility grid, utilizing built-in control algorithms for load following, peak shaving, or time of use operation; or completely separate from the utility grid in stand-alone mode. In the event of a grid failure, the optional dual mode controller senses the power interruption, disconnects the MicroTurbine from the grid, and reconfigures the system for stand-alone operation, automatically bringing the local loads back up. When grid power returns, the process is reversed and the loads re-connect to the utility. All of this happens automatically, without the need for an end-user.
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The simplicity of the Capstone design produces maximum reliability. Each microturbine consists of seven components: generator; compressor; recuperator; combustion chamber; turbine; digital power controller; and air bearings. With an air-cooled prime mover/generator consisting of just one moving part, the opportunities for failure are minimized. The system works by the digital power controller converting variable frequency AC from the high speed permanent magnet generator to DC, then converting the DC to grid-referenced AC at 400-480 VAC, 3 phase, 50 or 60 Hz. The rotating machinery is isolated from the utility and eliminates the need for additional equipment or operator intervention for synchronization.
The microturbines include features such as maintenance-free air bearings, the lowest emissions of any non-catalyzed fossil fuel combustion, and digital power conversion combine to produce the optimal small-scale generator. The systems installed in New York are highly efficient sources of distributed generation that provide customers with low cost and reliable power with low emissions.
The switch to microturbines as an alternative, on-site energy source is part of New York’s new rule for residential and commercial energy use and commitment to increase the use of efficient, clean-burning, power-generation technologies.
The new microturbine code and Building Department standard have reinvigorated interest in microturbine technology. To date, Capstone says it has shipped more than 4,000 Capstone MicroTurbine systems to customers worldwide.